Apparently I’m not, at least when it comes to US History, according to the results of a few online quizzes while preparing for this post. But I still like Jeff Foxworthy. He’s my all-time favorite redneck.
Even after a field trip to Valley Forge several months ago, which included a very entertaining synopsis of this famous Revolutionary War site courtesy of a very knowledgeable National Park Service guide who just happened to be a US History teacher in his former life, my recall of the pertinent Valley Forge facts via a few online quizzes was not what I’d hoped.
Okay, if you really must know, my average score was . . .
It’s a shame I can’t retain facts like I retain water! I was always horrible at Trivial Pursuit, too.
But I have pictures of Valley Forge!!!! I’m very good at retaining digital images. If you’ve any doubt my capabilities on that score (I retain close to 100%, if you must know, of the digital images I commit to memory – on my Memory Card, that is), you can read all about my high scores/addiction via this link.
But, . . . before I present my TOP TEN VALLEY FORGE PHOTOS, I figured what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, right?! For you history buffs, yes, I’m a quack when it comes to history, US or otherwise, although that hasn’t preventing me from participating in as many field trips as possible. For the rest of you, your goose may be cooked, too.
I know, you didn’t get to visit Valley Forge, which means you’re going to have to dig through decades of facts stored somewhere inside that cranium of yours. If you’re really feeling panicky, take the same online quiz I took after perusing my TOP TEN PHOTOS OF VALLEY FORGE. I’ve included all the history I could recall; I guarantee those facts are at least 70% accurate!
Here’s the link to one of the ten-question quizzes I took online; see how you stack up. Good luck! Feel free to put me to shame (or to commiserate) and share your score via a comment.
VISITOR CENTER AT VALLEY FORGE
Why Valley Forge for that six month encampment? The area was close enough to the British occupation in Philadelphia to keep their raiding and foraging parties out of the interior of Pennsylvania, yet far enough away to halt the threat of British surprise attacks. The high ground of nearby Mount Joy and Mount Misery (those are some telling names), combined with the Schuylkill River to the north, made the area easily defensible.
Though no battle was fought there during the six-month encampment beginning December 19, 1777, a struggle against the elements and low morale was overcome on this sacred ground.
GENERAL GEORGE WASHINGTON, COMMANDER, CONTINENTAL ARMY
His faith in the moral rightness of the American cause during the Revolutionary War never wavered under his command. As the leader of the first successful revolution against a colonial empire in world history Washington remains an international icon for liberation and nationalism.
MAJOR GENERAL FRIEDRICH VON STEUBEN
Out of work and sympathetic to the cause, von Steuben showed up at Washington’s doorstep (muddy as that doorstep was) in February, 1778 speaking very little English but brandishing a letter of introduction from Benjamin Franklin. It got von Steuben’s foot in the door.
In just under six months, von Steuben turned the disillusioned and poorly trained Continental Army into a fighting force ready and able to take on the British Empire. I bet he’d have made a great teacher!
HOUSING FOR VALLEY FORGE SOLDIERS
Disease actually proved the toughest obstacle to overcome. Two-thousand men succumbed to typhus, typhoid, dysentery, and pneumonia in the spring of 1778 when supplies were abundant; another thousand men deserted.
I had no idea wives, sisters, and daughters of many of the enlisted men followed the American soldiers throughout the war (they numbered about 500 at Valley Forge), taking care of their laundry and meals and minimal medical needs. They received half the wages of the soldier; children received quarter wages. Their emotional support was priceless.
The Valley Forge encampment also included African American and Native American soldiers. The First Rhode Island Regiment, in General James Varnum’s Brigade, consisted largely of African American and Native American soldiers. African Americans at Valley Forge also included slaves serving as substitutes for their masters; one of those slaves was Samual Surphen in the New Jersey Brigade.
This tough, colorful, hard fighting general earned the moniker "Mad" Wayne for his heroics on and off the battlefield. In 1779 he launched a coup de main against British fortifications at Stony Point, New York, on the orders of General George Washington, destroying the fortifications and evacuating the area during a mission that had seemed doomed to failure.
At Ft. Ticonderoga in early 1777, troops of the Sixth Pennsylvania mutinied over their enlistment terms until Wayne brow-beat the leaders into surrendering. He squashed a second mutiny in a rifle company by aiming a pistol at one of the ring leaders until the man begged for his life.
During the Valley Forge encampment, George Washington relied heavily on Wayne’s leadership, writing, “In Wayne the spark of daring might flame into rashness, but it was better to have such a leader and occasionally to cool him to caution than forever to be heating the valor of men who feared they would singe their plooms in battle”.
At the time of Washington's encampment the house was being rented by a Potts relative, Deborah Hewes. Mrs. Hewes rented the entire house along with some furnishings to the General, his wife Martha, and Washington's military family.